The first space related stamp issue came in 1972 and marked the 10th anniversary of the splashdown of Colonel John Glenn. The stamps showed the launch at Cape Canaveral, the capsule in orbit and the splashdown with a map of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
This was followed in 1977 by stamps that marked the 25th anniversary of the US Tracking Station and included images of the tracking station, John Glenn’s Friendship 7 capsule, and images of astronauts on the moon.
The first moon landing has also generated stamp issues. The first was in 1989 to mark the 20th anniversary. A second series was issued in 1995 to celebrate the 25th anniversary which contained a variety of Apollo XI related scenes from NASA including the moon landing of Armstrong and Aldrin, the first footstep and the recovery of the capsule in the pacific.
Even the 1997 set to mark one hundred years of remembrance of Heinrich Von Stephan (1831-1897), founder of Universal Postal Union (UPU), included the space shuttle as the transport for future postal service.
The most recent set of stamps marked the return of John Glenn into space in 1998. Senator Glenn had lobbied NASA for new tests and was specifically chosen to carry out a study of the effects of space on aging.
So what is next? With the growing exploration of space and the construction of the Space Station, there is bound to be a wealth of new topics that can be covered. You may never know, the first Belonger in space could just be around the corner and may lead to a new stamp issue.